Sony Pictures Classics “Infinitely Polar Bear” premiered on Monday, June 8 at The Sunshine Landmark Theater. The evening was hosted by Ermenegildo Zegna and Exclusive Matchmaking.
The film marked Maya Forbes director début and proved that Mark Ruffalo can in fact do anything. The story follows the lives of Faith and Amelia when their mother, Maggie (Zoe Saldana) decides to go to Columbia Business School in order to build a better life for her daughters. Maggie leaves her daughters with her husband Cameron (Mark Ruffalo) who has just recovered from a recent bipolar relapse and is put back on Lithium. The story then follows the three as Cameron is given responsibility to look after his daughters while his daughters must learn to live with their dad’s inconsistent temperament.
While the story sounded really heavy on paper, Maya Forbes did an amazing job at creating an easy and beautiful tale that focused on one simple concept: love. She created a masterpiece that allows the audience to see mental illness through the lens of a family as opposed to ‘othering’ it. The audience sees Cameron not only as bipolar patient but also as a caring and loving father and husband. The girls and Cam grow with each other through the course of eighteen months. The girls begin to know their father again after a long separation while Cam becomes grounded through the daily routines he shares with his daughters. As opposed to being told what to do, Cam is looked upon as the caregiver and is trusted with the responsibility of his daughters. While the audience gets to see how the daughters and Cam change over the months, the character we don’t see grow is Maggie. While Maggie visits the family every weekend, her character serves as the inspector who checks in to ensure that all is well. But it is her absence that allows the bond between Cam and his daughters to grow.
The cast was absolutely amazing. Many have been crediting this as the best performance of Ruffalo’s career and after seeing the film, and we agree. He did an amazing job at becoming Forbes’ father and showing the many intricacies of Cameron’s character. As opposed to pitying him, the audience falls in love with him as he struggles to take care of his daughters. He completely embodies the character and it was funny to watch this film after having recently seen The Avengers. Ruffalo has the ability to do so many different roles while bringing authenticity to each one. He portrays Cameron as both innocent and hilarious. The girls, Imogene Wolodarksy and Ashley Aufderheide, who play Amelia and Faith respectively are hilarious. They both support each other but stand out in their own right. Their quick and witty responses remind the audience that kids see everything yet still love you. Zoe Saldana plays Maggie and does a great job at showing a mother struggle to be away from her kids while trying to give them a better life. Her character is relatable and the scenes Maggie reunites with her daughters are heartwarming.
There were many touching moments in this film. After numerous fights about a flamingo costume for Faith, Cam stays up all night to make the skirt for her. When she sees it in the morning, unexpectedly she jumps on him and says “I love you”. In a rare show of emotion to her father, she melts Cam’s heart by saying something so simple and meaningful. Even after all the fights the two have had, the moment shows that kids are simple. No matter how much they fight, they will love you anyways. In another scene, Cam teaches the girls a very important lesson. After being embarrassed to show their friends how they live, he tells them that their poverty is not their fault. In that one moment, the girls learn what takes most kids years to understand, own up to who you are and never be embarrassed by it. The funniest and sweetest scene was when after the girls don’t want to take Cam with them to the park, he stands in the hallway looking at them sadly till they agree to take him with them. This mirrors the scene prior, where the girls stood in the doorway when Cam gets angry and tries to leave them home alone. The scene flips the roles between Cam and his daughters, and he becomes the child again. Oftentimes, growing up, children only see their parents as parents and not as people. That scene represented what most people learn later in their twenties or in their college years. Parents are after all people too and they aren’t always right, but rather are doing what they know best.
This film was beautiful and heart warming, and definitely a must watch! It hits theaters on June 19.